Thursday, 19 October 2017
Questions without Notice
I thank Senator Kakoschke-Moore for her question and for her advice that she would be asking this today. I know from discussions that it is a very important matter for Senator Kakoschke-Moore.
Indeed, in the 2017-18 budget, the government did announce funding of $19½ million over four years for reparation payments to victims of abuse. These payments recognise that what happened was wrong and also acknowledge that in some cases Defence may have mismanaged victims' claims historically. We take allegations of abuse very seriously, and we've developed more efficient avenues for both current and former serving members of the ADF to report incidents of abuse. We have taken steps to improve Defence's assessment and investigation of complaints of abuse. The reparation payments themselves are one example of the support that is available to victims of abuse in Defence.
Defence is finalising the policy proposal for the new Defence Force Reparation Scheme, in consultation with the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the departments of Treasury, social services, veterans' affairs, finance and, of course, PM&C. We are clarifying the financial impacts for an individual who receives a reparation payment and any interaction of that payment with other benefits and entitlements to ensure that recipients are able to receive the full benefit of the reparation payment. Until those details of the policy proposal are finalised, I believe it would be premature to release any further information at this stage. I would be very happy to provide the senator with a briefing if that would be of assistance.